Millions worldwide join March against Monsanto
3rd June 2013 · 0 Comments
By J. Kojo Livingston
Last Saturday in more than 52 countries and 436 cities around the world people came out to protest the industrial giant Monsanto, the largest pesticide manufacturer in the world. Monsanto leads in the creation of genetically modified foods or GMOs. In New Orleans, Lafayette and Lake Charles, La., protesters took to the streets to join the world in opposition to growing trend that many describe as food tyranny.
Monsanto is also charged with bankrupting hundreds of small farmers using aggressive legal tactics involving their seeds. Its influence on the FDA and even legislative bodies designed to regulate it has been documented in books, articles and videos.
Most of the corn, soybean and cotton crops grown in the United States today have been genetically modified. And GMO corn in the form of high fructose corn syrup is in bread, ketchup, soft drinks, pastries and hundreds of other products that one would not expect to find them.
In recent years, films such as “Food, Inc.,” “The Rave Diet” and “Seeds of Death: Unveiling the Lies of GMOs” have exposed sickening facts about the food we all eat. In response, several states have made it illegal to film what happens in a food plant and laws have been passed making it difficult to even speak about the dangers of the food industry without being vulnerable to lawsuits.
Much of the mainstream media was sympathetic to the company, using in their reporting, Monsanto’s definition of generically modified organisms which reads: “Genetically modified plants are grown from seeds that are engineered to resist insecticides and herbicides, add nutritional benefits or otherwise improve crop yields and increase the global food supply.” Hugh Grant, Monsanto’s CEO says that these are the most heavily researched foods on the market, and that the vegetables grown from their patented seeds are nutritionally equivalent to other veggies.
Transgenic and GMO foods are organisms which have had specific changes introduced to their DNA using genetic engineering techniques. The plants produced by Monsanto’s seeds are designed to be treated with toxic herbicides and pesticides, chemicals which have been suspected to increase allergies and have been linked to decreased fertility, asthma, organ failure, and even cancer.
This does not include the creation of “superweeds” that have become immune to current pesticides, and “frankenfoods” or mutated animals designed to grow larger and faster than normal. Much of the scientific community has raised concerns about health threats caused by GMOs, including reports from studies that show them causing infertility in the second-generation rats that consumed them. Environmental poisoning is another concern of protestors. The pesticides have been known to contaminate water supplies.
The food industry’s scientists and the federal government insist on two major points: First, GMOs are not harmful to people. All existing research to the contrary should be ignored. Only research supporting GMOs is valid. Second – Citizens should not have the right to know if the food they are eating is genetically modified. Companies should not have to tell you on the label. In fact Monsanto threatened to sue the state of Vermont for labeling foods that were genetically modified.
People following GMOs find no comfort in declarations of safety made by the same government and FDA that is always having a national recall of some food or medication that it previously declared “absolutely safe.” Others find it difficult to accept the notion that a democratic government would deny its citizens the right to know and chose what they are eating. Monsanto insist that citizens should not know because they might be confused.
The only demands of the march and the Millions Against Monsanto movement, at this point are that GMOs be banned or labeled until more research is completed. A dozen nations have already banned GMO’s.
Organizers of the march have said that they are not waiting until next year to do another action. On October 12 they will take to the streets again, in honor of World Food Day, (which falls the following Wednesday) and the fact that October is National GMO Awareness Month. They are expecting a larger event than this one. There is also a July 4th event being put on by momsacrossamerica.com.
This article originally published in the June 3, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.